CSK crush Mumbai to reach fifth final
Chennai Super Kings 192 for 1 (Hussey 86*, Raina 82*) beat Mumbai Indians 144 (Smith 68, Bravo 3-9, Jadeja 3-31) by 48 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The IPL faced new crises - including a hearing for alleged spot-fixers about 10km from the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium and a hearing asking for a ban on the event itself - but on the field the same old story of Chennai Super Kings' domination of big IPL matches continued as they made it to their fifth final out of the six IPLs played.
Michael Hussey and Suresh Raina powered them with 80s, but the 192 seemed inadequate the way Dwayne Smith hit 68 off 28. Into the game came Ravindra Jadeja with the wickets of Smith, Dinesh Karthik and Kieron Pollard. Mumbai get another shot at making it to the final when they face the winner of the match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals.
Super Kings looked a bit hassled in the eight-over slog against Royal Challengers Bangalore in their previous match, but in a full-duration big match you always back them to get back to their best. It was a typical Super Kings performance. It was Hussey and Raina first, who hardly ever disappoint in big matches, with an unbeaten 140-run partnership.
That partnership followed a solid unhurried opening between M Vijay and Hussey. Hussey and Raina then got together as if they have been playing IPL qualifiers on Feroz Shah Kotla tracks all their lives. There were no uncertain prods in the beginning, no hesitation in the running. Hussey, who reclaimed the orange cap during the innings, was special in how he took apart Lasith Malinga.
It was actually a good over from Malinga - the fifth of the match - featuring two excellent yorkers. Hussey not only kept the yorkers out, he pushed two balls of that over for fours. No back lift, just timing. Even when the two exploded towards the end, taking 123 runs off the last 10, it hardly looked like they were taking risks. It seemed the innings was headed towards its natural end.
What followed wasn't quite expected. Smith went absolutely berserk in the chase. Everything he touched seemed to be going for either four or six. He didn't spare the opening bowlers nor Chris Morris. He laid into R Ashwin too and took Mumbai to 86 for 1 in seven overs. Then Dhoni went to what has been his trump card all season.
On came Jadeja and just like that Smith sliced one inexplicably. Gone. Then went Karthik to a skidder: 95 for 3. Rohit Sharma fell under the pressure too, but when Pollard began to hit sixes, the flat track and small outfield promised anything was possible.
Not against Jadeja, though. Two sixes in that over were followed by a dart into the pads, which Pollard happened to flick straight to square leg. That was game over, but Super Kings went on to show brilliant pieces of fielding and celebrations.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo